Keir Starmer brands Corbyn's response to report 'as bad as it gets'

Keir Starmer brands Jeremy Corbyn’s response to anti-Semitism report ‘as bad as it gets’ – after deputy leader Angela Rayner warns Labour may have to suspend THOUSANDS of members if they don’t ‘get real’ over discrimination against Jews

  • Labour leader Keir Starmer said he was ‘disappointed’ by predecessor’s claims
  • Corbyn was suspended over his response to a EHRC damning report last month
  • Meanwhile, deputy leader Angela Rayner says party members need to ‘get real’
  • MP said at a conference she is prepared to suspend thousands of party members

Sir Keir Starmer has said Jeremy Corbyn’s response to a damning report on anti-Semitism in Labour was ‘just about as bad as you can get’.

The Opposition leader said he was ‘disappointed’ when his predecessor claimed the issue had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’.

It comes as the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has issued a warning that thousands of its members could be suspended if they continue to deny anti-Semitism is a problem within the party. 

Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour over his response to the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report last month.

He was the first former leader to be suspended after he said in a statement the ‘scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media’.

He has since been reinstated as a party member by the National Executive Committee, but Sir Keir has not restored the Labour whip – meaning Mr Corbyn cannot sit as a Labour MP.

Sir Keir Starmer has said predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s response to a damning report on anti-Semitism in Labour, which was published in October, was ‘just about as bad as you can get’

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured, accused the report’s authors of ‘overstating’ the problem of anti-Semitism in the Labour party for political reasons and was suspended in the wake of comments

Speaking at a Jewish Labour Movement virtual conference on Sunday, Sir Keir said: ‘I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with Jeremy Corbyn’s response.

‘Because the words he used, what he said, coming from the former leader of the Labour Party in response to that report were just about as bad as you can get.

‘Everything in a sense that has followed in the last few weeks follows from those words, and that has exacerbated the pain and the hurt and we are in a position that I did not want to be in.’

The landmark 130-page report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found ‘significant failings in the way the Labour Party has handled anti-Semitism complaints over the last four years’ with ‘specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference’. 

Last week, Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown asked Mr Corbyn to ‘unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation’ apologise for claiming that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’.

In a letter, Mr Brown said the former Labour leader’s response to the report caused ‘distress and pain’ to the Jewish community. 

It comes as the Labour party’s deputy leader issued a warning that thousands of its members could be suspended if they continue to ignore anti-Semitism in the party.

Angela Rayner has said members need to ‘get real’ about the problem within Labour and said there’s no place for members who refuse to do so.

Speaking at the same event this morning, Ms Rayner said: ‘Our members need to get real about this, our Labour members. If they don’t think antisemitism is within the Labour Party and that there’s problems now, then there’s really no place for them in the Labour Party.

‘If they think making people feel unsafe or unwelcome in our meetings is a response to the EHRC report, then they need to be out of our party immediately. People need to understand what our Jewish community have been through.’

Deputy leader Angela Rayner has said if she has to suspend ‘thousands and thousands’ of members who ignore anti-Semitism problem, she will do as party needs to ‘get real’ on issue

According to LabourList, Ms Rayner added: ‘I feel really, really angry actually that there’s been scenes like that in our CLP meetings.

The MP for  Ashton-under-Lyme was addressing concerns raised by Labour MP Nadia Whittome who described the ‘atmosphere and tone’ of a Nottingham East Labour meeting held on Friday as ‘wholly unacceptable’ as they passed a motion in support of Corbyn.

The deputy leader added: ‘We should have a bit of humility… We should be listening and aware of how hurt and upset people are. I feel really, really angry actually that there’s been scenes like that in our CLP meetings.

‘If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that. Because we cannot and we will not accept an injury to one, because an injury to one is an injury to all. That’s what we say in our movement.

‘It’s about education as well. It’s about having this approach where we don’t accept that people – you know, we have debates but there’s no debating what the EHRC said.

‘There’s no debating whether antisemitism exists in the Labour Party. It does, and we’ve got to do everything we can to stamp it out.’

Source: Read Full Article